Sunday, June 24, 2018
Editorials

Another voice: Don’t get too cocky, Dems

For months, the Virginia gubernatorial race has been seen as a bellwether of the Democratic Party’s capacity to rebound from its stunning loss to Republican Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential contest, and the results were about as good as Democrats could have hoped for. In what polls had suggested would be a neck-and-neck race, the Democratic nominee, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, trounced Republican Ed Gillespie by nine points, and Democrats picked up 14 seats in the state’s House of Delegates. And it wasn’t just in Old Dominion that Democrats dominated. They picked up New Jersey’s governorship, seats in Georgia’s legislature, and a senate seat in Washington State that gives them complete control of the governor’s mansions and legislatures up and down the West Coast. Maine voters overwhelmingly decided to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and one of the leading social conservatives in the Virginia House lost to a political newcomer who happens to be a transgender woman. Exit polls and turnout figures suggested an anti-Trump surge that more than overcame Democrats’ traditional weakness in off-year elections, and analysts are now suggesting the party may be the favorite to control the House of Representatives after next year’s midterm elections.

All we can say is, don’t get too cocky, Democrats.

The spate of wins for the party don’t erase the fissures that hobbled it in 2016 and have prevented it from unifying behind much of anything since except antipathy toward President Trump. Before Tuesday night, the big political story of the week for Democrats was the publication of former Democratic National Committee interim chairwoman Donna Brazile’s tell-all memoir detailing the combination of management dysfunction, missed opportunities and hubris that doomed Ms. Clinton’s candidacy last year.

On Tuesday, Democrats won plenty of races based on voters’ enthusiasm to send an anti-Trump message. But the task in the midterms is much tougher. Democrats need to pick up three seats to control the U.S. Senate, but they are defending 25 of the 33 seats that will be up for election next year, and they would need to run the table and then some on the states that are expected to be competitive. Democrats have to pick up 24 seats to take the House, and despite polls showing a double-digit advantage for the party in a generic congressional ballot test, incumbency and gerrymandering make that a heavy lift.

Off-year wave elections happen with some regularity, but it’s much more difficult to pull off without a clear agenda, and Democrats, still fighting the Hillary vs. Bernie primary, don’t have one other than opposing whatever Trump does or says.

As we head toward 2018, it’s clear that neither Republican ethnic nationalism nor Democratic identity politics can heal the divisions in American society or answer the problems we face in the 21st century. Anti-Trump fervor papered over that issue for Democrats on Tuesday, but that’s going to be harder in 2018 and might be impossible in 2020.

Comments
Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

Editorial: Handing out gift cards like candy at CareerSource

It’s hard to pick the biggest outrage in the financial and ethical swamp that has swallowed Tampa Bay’s two primary job placement agencies, CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay. Is it the boiler room atmosphere where CareerSource recruite...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18

Family separation crisis is not over

The family-separation crisis that President Donald Trump created is not over. The executive order Trump signed Wednesday purporting to end the routine tearing of children from their undocumented parents stands on uncertain legal ground. U.S. border a...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Editorial: State help needed to staff hotlines with veterans helping veterans

Veterans can help veterans deal with trauma resulting from military service in a way no one else can. That’s the theory behind a special hotline set up in the Tampa Bay area that proponents are hoping to take statewide.The expansion would cost some $...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

Editorial: With Supreme Court ruling, Florida should collect sales tax from online retailers

It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court has a better grasp of the economic realities of the 21st century than Congress or the Florida Legislature. The court ruled Thursday that states can require online retailers to collect sales taxes even if the retail...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

Editorial: Congress should ban splitting kids, parents

The shocking scenes of immigrant children crying after being taken from their parents at the border exposed a new level of cruelty by the Trump administration, and though the president reversed course Wednesday, Congress needs to end the shameful pra...
Published: 06/21/18
Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Sessions kickstarts action on marijuana

Good job, Jeff Sessions! It seems the attorney general’s misguided attempts to revive the unpopular and unjust federal war on marijuana may be having the exact opposite effect — prompting a new bipartisan effort in Congress to allow states to legaliz...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

Editorial: A court victory for protecting Florida’s environment

A Tallahassee judge has affirmed the overwhelming intent of Florida voters by ruling that state lawmakers have failed to comply with a constitutional amendment that is supposed to provide a specific pot of money to buy and preserve endangered lands. ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18